Jackie Robinson Baseball Cards: The Ultimate Collectors Guide
Jackie Robinson baseball cards are some of the most important and highly sought after in the hobby.
Robinson will always be remembered as the first African-American to break the game’s color barrier when he signed to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
For the ten years he played in the Majors, he turned in a heck of a career winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1947, an MVP in 1949 and six All-Star game appearances in total.
Because of his importance to baseball and American history, his cards are very desirable and very expensive.
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A Detailed Look At Jackie Robinson Cards
Let's take a look at some of Robinson's key mainstream cards. There are only eight in total so putting together his base set is relatively easy. But, that doesn't mean it will be cheap. For a bigger challenge, he's got several oddball cards that you can check out later on in this guide to build an even bigger Jackie Robinson card collection.
1948 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson Rookie Card
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $45,000
There is only one true rookie card for Jackie Robinson, and that is the 1948 Leaf. It was not only one of the keys to the Leaf series, but his first major rookie card and one of the most valuable baseball cards of all time. Unfortunately, it is typical for this card to have poor print quality, and poor coloration. There are commonly black print defects, and a faint or dull yellow background. The image chosen is a close up of his face, with the reliable Brooklyn Dodger hat on. Despite it’s poor quality, it is highly sought after by collectors.
1949 Bowman #50
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $7,500
1949 was an important year for Jackie Robinson, it was this season in which he was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Despite this honor, the 1949 Bowman is notoriously poor quality, with a fading red background with a shot of Robinson in his jersey from the chest up. The Dodger blue on his hat and his white jersey stand out in the red of the background. His bright smile is common on all of his baseball cards, showing her perseverance through all of the hate he had to endure as a player.
1950 Bowman #22
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $5,250
Jackie Robinson was able to be a part of the legendary 1950 Bowman baseball card collection, and fans were not disappointed with the card. In it, Robinson is seen taking a practice swing on the field, wearing his white and blue Dodger uniform. It is one of the better quality Robinson cards, and has been known to be more durable as time goes on. The colors are strong, and do not fade as much as many of his other cards. Robinson truly comes to life with the 1950 Bowman Jackie Robinson card.
1952 Topps #312
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $17,500
The 1952 Topps Jackie Robinson baseball card is popular amongst collectors for being one of his best looking cards, and one of the best enduring card in his collection. On the card, he is shown in a head shot, with his bat slug over his shoulder. The card also features the signature of the famous ball player, which is special for many collectors. 1952 was one of his best years, with 19 homeruns, 24 stolen bases, 104 runs, and only 291 strike outs out of 5,000 times at bat. His special year in baseball was memorialized with this special card.
1953 Topps #1
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $5,250
The 1953 Topps Jackie Robinson was the first in the hobby, which adds to its appeal for collectors. However, there are two main condition challenges that hinder its ability to endure the test of time. The first of which, is that the card has poor centering, which ruins the aesthetic. The second main problem, is that there is commonly chipping along the black bottom edge of the card. It is very hard to find a card that does not have this chipping, and so finding a mint condition card is exceptionally rare.
1954 Topps #10
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $1,450
With the 1954 Topps Jackie Robinson baseball card, the familiar yellow background comes back to the cards. However, with this card, collectors get two versions of Robinson. On the left hand side is a headshot of Jackie, with his trademark smile and Dodger blue hat. His signature is located along his neckline. On the right side of the card, on his shoulder, is an action picture of him throwing the ball. It is a special card, and has been known to have great long lasting endurance for collectors around the world. It is a must have, if you can find it.
1955 Topps #50
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $1,750
1955 has gone down in baseball history and Dodger history as the year the Jackie Robinson led the Brooklyn Dodgers to the World Series, and won. It was a momentous year for the team, and especially for Robinson himself. The Topps 1955 Jackie Robinson card was created to help commemorate the win. The card was designed as a landscape orientation, with a headshot of Robinson on the right, and an action shot of Robinson getting ready to hit another home run. His signature is placed below the action shot of Robinson as well.
1956 Topps #30
Estimated PSA 8 Value: $1,150
The 1956 Topps Jackie Robinson card is special in the hearts of collectors, because it is the last season that Robinson played major league baseball. He forever changed the game of baseball for the better, and will always be remembered. On the left hand side of the card, Robinson’s famous smile in his headshot is shown, with bright vibrant coloring. On the right hand side, there is an action scene of Robinson sliding into home plate, with the catcher trying and failing to tag him out, and the next batter getting ready to bat.
Jackie Robinson Baseball Cards Wrap-up
In his career, Jackie Robinson helped the Brooklyn Dodgers win the National League pennant six different times, and helped them win the World Series once in 1955. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1947, and was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player for the 1949 season.
During his entire career, he had a total of 1,519 hits, 137 home runs, 734 RBI, and a .311 batting average. With this legacy, in 1962 Robinson was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks to his phenomenal skill on the field, and his bravery on and off the field, every Major League Baseball team also retired Robinson’s number “42”.
But what was most remarkable about Jackie Robinson was not his stats and his game on the field, but his persistence through years of hatred, abuse, and bigotry from fans and players alike. He was the first African American to play in the Major Leagues, and would serve as a role model for children of all races for many years to come. His baseball cards are but one of the ways that collectors can hold on to a piece of his miraculous history.